By Philip Weiss
I see that Reuters is characterizing Ron Paul’s anti-war outcry in the Republican debate as an outburst and is saying that his views could alienate Republicans. Well I found his performance riveting. It was a great moral stand and establishes Ron Paul as the Gene McCarthy of this battle, the antiwar outlier.
Who else is condemning the use of drones? Who else is condemning the Patriot Act? Who else is talking about our endless wars? Who else is condemning the runup to an Iran war? Who else is saying that terrorists attack us because we’re bombing their countries?
Below I have typed up his dramatic statements against “endless war” and the ramping up of war against Iran being just like what happened with that useless war against Iraq, which killed 1 million Iraqis. No I can’t stand his position on global warming, that could be a dealbreaker for me. And his libertarian economic ideas, at a time when the income disparity is so huge, but this was a great performance. Again, who else says this stuff? Who contests the belief that Iran has a bomb? Who stands up for Muslims around the world? Who understands Iran’s desire to counter the saber-rattling? Who says that Israel has 300 nukes?
Paul’s stance is especially intriguing given the mainstream’s dismissal of him: Chris Matthews’s statement on his show last night dismissing Ron Paul as an “isolationist.” Matthews also fulminated against that “damned war,” Iraq, but said Iran was a horse of a different color: not a regional threat, but a global threat. So Matthews, whom I regard as a liberal eastcoast establishment partisan, is drinking Democratic Party/lobby Koolaid on the Iran threat. Fascinating.
Here are my notes from Paul’s stellar answers on foreign policy:
Fox Moderator: What about if you had solid intelligence that Iran was about to get a nuclear weapon, but you say you’d remove the sanctions on Iran. Aren’t you running left of President Obama on this?
“But I’d be running with the American people because it would be a much better policy… For you to say there’s some scientific evidence, and maybe in a year they might have a weapon, there’s a lot more evidence that they don’t have it. There’s no U.N. evidence of that happening. … There is no difference from 2003. You know what I really fear about this. It’s another Iraq coming, it’s war propaganda coming on… To me the greatest danger is that we will have a president who will over react, and we will soon bomb Iran.
“It would make more sense, if we lived through the Cold War, which we did, with 30,000 missiles pointed at us, we ought to really sit back and look and think and not jump the gun and think we’re going to be attacked. That’s how we got into that useless war in Iraq and lost so much in Iraq.”
Questioner persists. You’re running left of Obama.
“Yes. All we’re doing is promoting their desire to have it. Ehud Barak the defense minister for Israel said that if he were in Iran he would probably want a nuclear weapon too. Because they’re surrounded– for geopolitical desires. So that’s an udnerstanding…
“How do we treat people with a nuclear weapon? With a lot more respect. What did we do with Libya? We talked with them, we talked them out of their nuclear weapon, and then we killed him…. Nuclear weapons are loaded over there. Pakistan, India, Israel has 300 of them. We have our ships over there. We have to keep this in the proper context. We don’t need another war!”
What about Iran’s threat to close the Straits of Hormuz?
Paul, bridling: “The plans are on the book, all they talk about is when are we, the west, going to bomb Iran? They don’t have a nuclear weapon– why wouldn’t they try to send out some information, you know if you come and bomb us, we might shut the straits of Hormuz down. So the president already is wisely stepping back on the sanctions, because it’s going to be an economic calamity if you take all the oil out of Europe….
“We have 12,000 diplomats. We ought to use a little bit of diplomacy once in a while.”
Ron Paul is then baited by Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. She says Iran is the equivalent of al qaeda and wants to spread jihad across the world. “I have never heard a more dangerous answer for American security than the one I just heard from Ron Paul. We know without a shadow of the doubt that Iran will … use it to wipe our ally Israel off the face fo the map and they will use it against the United States of America…”
Paul: “Obviously I would like to see a lot less nuclear weapons. I don’t want Iran to have a nuclear weapon. I would like to reduce them, because there would be less chance of war. But to declare war on 1.2 billion Muslims and say all Muslims are the same? This is dangerous talk. Yeah there are some radicals. They don’t come here to kill us because we’re free and prosperous… They come here and they explicitly explain it to us. The CIA has explained this to us. They come here and want to do us harm because we’re bombing them…
“Why were we flying a drone over Iran? Why do we have to bomb so many countries? Why do we have 900 bases in 1130 countries and we’re totally bankrupt. How are we going to take care of the people? I think this wild goal is to have another war in the name of defense is the dangerous thing. The danger is really us overreacting. and we need a strong national defense and only go to war when there’s a declaration of war… [instead of] starting these wars so often….”
Bachmann again speaks of an avowed madman wanting to wipe Israel out.
Paul: “There is no UN report that said that. It’s totally wrong on what you just said. That is not true. They produced information that led you to believe that. But they have no evidence. There has been no enrichment.”
Bachmann: “If we agree with that, the United States people could be at risk–”
Paul: “If she thinks we live in a dangerous world, she ought to think back to when I was drafted in 1962 with the nuclear missiles in Cuba. And Kennedy calls Khrushchev and talks to him and talks him out of a nuclear excahnge. You’re trying to dramatize this… we have to treat Iran like we’ve treated Iraq and kill a million Iraqis and 8000 some Americans have died since we’ve gone to war.
“You cannot solve these problems with war… Get them over with, instead of this endless fighting and this endless attitude that we have enemies all around the world…”
Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.